Japan is known for its cherry blossoms, but also for its earthquakes. We all remember the one on March, 11th 2011 and the tsunami that followed, resulting in a nuclear catastrophe. We also remember the Kobe earthquake in 1995, which would have been more than 6,000 deaths, resulting in a war landscape.
In Japan, the earth shakes regularly. This is part of the Japanese civilization. If I remember correctly, statistically there are several of them per day. All of them are obviously not of the scale of the disaster in Kobe, not all felt by humans, but every day it can make a little shake.
What is “fun” in a way, is that we live in an area where seismic risk is important in France, but I start feeling the risk just when I am leaving for the other part of the world.
We must say that I have felt 3 or 4 earthquakes in my life: like a very large truck passing by, trembling street lights, shaking window glass.
While looking for information on what to do in case of earthquake, I found few of them in the Plan Séisme. So I continue my research.
One of the sites I liked for its content (although graphically it’s pretty ugly) is the Préparez-vous, by the Canadian government (that’s right, there are earthquakes also in Canada, I did not know, up to now). It is very detailed and provides guidance to follow for a wide range of cases, whether we are in a house, in a building or even in a mobile home, in the street, train, bus. I also appreciated that advice is also given for people in wheelchairs.
For Japanese peculiarities the blog Kanpai! provides a detailed article on the subject, which also has the great merit of offering the necessary vocabulary from “help” to “I’m fine”.
Being ready requires good anticipation, and sometimes a bit complex one:
- have a first aid kit;
- have on hand a kit containing all the medical treatment of the whole family;
- have packs of reserve of water;
- have a reserve ready-to-eat food;
- a sleeping bag per person;
What to remember, essentially :
- do not panic and do not run;
- sheltering #1: away from windows, away from what might fall. A clear sky above his head is still the best;
- sheltering #2: inside, get on the ground, in a doorway, under a table, under… anything, protect your head with your arms;
- do not take the elevator;
- beware of replicas;
- away from the sea and rivers;
- when in Japan, one should call to the embassy (if the quake is important, of course, not if it is a small thing). For my part, I already registered on the site Ariane of the Ministry of (French) Foreign Affairs (stating with whom I am in Japan) to warn someone at home in case of something goes wrong (in this case, my older brother Sylvain).
In France, it will be essential no to try to call his family, which could saturate the network and prevent emergency contact.
In Japan, I read in the book of Karyn Poupée there exists a relay systems for communications, so that all public phone change to “free calls” mode. They even have systems that send you an email on your cell phone to warn that in 5 minutes, the earth will tremble (they are really cool, the Japanese).
The earth will tremble maybe. We are warned, and we are ready.